Investigations underway after racism targeting 2 Valley soccer teams

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Racism reared its ugly head twice in the last week for Central Valley soccer teams traveling for state tournaments.

Buchanan's girls' soccer team lost the state championship on penalty kicks this weekend.

But now, the California Interscholastic Federation is investigating their opponents and the team that beat Sanger's boys a few days before.

"Explicitly racist hate speech."

That's how Oak Ridge high school administrators are describing those monkey sounds targeting Buchanan's Ciara Wilson during the African-American teen's penalty kick.

RELATED: Racial harassment caught on video at girls soccer championship game

The Oak Ridge goalie apologized quickly, and administrators from the Sacramento-area school tell Action News they're using video and interviews to identify the person who made the noises.

But the racist targeting of players was not limited to one playoff game.

"Some of them were calling our kids Edgar and Juan, and do you need a burrito," said Sanger parents Chris Martin.

Sanger High School's boys soccer team absorbed racial harassment during its playoff game at De La Salle in the Bay Area.

"It was shocking to hear what happened at our game and then doubly shocking to hear what had only happened a few days later with the Buchanan game," said Sanger athletic director Brian Penner.

RELATED: Sanger High kids, parents face racist insults during soccer game in Northern California city

He'll meet with officials from De la Salle and from the CIF late Monday.

The league prohibits discrimination against student-athletes, but it's leaving investigations to the schools.

Penner says he's unsure what type of punishment the people or the teams could face, but said it's important that CIF keeps people accountable and does something to prevent future racist outbursts targeting athletes.

"We would all like to think we're moving past these sort of attitudes and to see that that's obviously not the case is a reminder that we need to keep on working on this," Penner said.

So both Sanger and Clovis Unified are working with investigations by their opponents.

Oak Ridge administrators also say they're discussing the incident in every classroom at school and they're planning to dole out the maximum punishment.

But nobody who talked to us expects a repeat of the 2021 decision to strip the state basketball championship from Coronado High School last year because of people throwing tortillas at the predominantly Latino team it beat for the title.
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